Friday, December 29, 2017

"The End" Week: World's Finest Comics #323!

It's a sad fact of life that sometimes friends drift apart. You might no longer share the same interests, or not have the time you had to spend together before, or disagree about what to do with yourselves. Or, your friendship might be ending by editorial fiat. Like today's book! From 1985, World's Finest Comics #323, "Afraid of the Dark" Written by Joey Cavalieri, pencils by Jose Delbo, inks by Alfredo Alcala.

There seemed like a bit of lip service to wrapping up an earlier storyline here; as the villain is Nightwolf, at the behest of the Power Broker; but it's the former's only appearance, and I can't even find any info on the latter. Still, an archaeologist who appeared in an earlier issue, and got her grant from the Wayne Foundation, spills the beans on Nightwolf: he was her fling, but stole a belt they had discovered and went to an old shaman to find out how to use it. Now, he's covered Metropolis with Advanced Darkness and magic wolves. While Superman realizes it's magic and he's vulnerable to it, he still gets knocked out and maybe gnawed on a bit by the doggies.

Meanwhile, after seeing the archaeologist, Batman disguises himself as Nightwolf's shaman, in order to trick him into a fight where Bats easily takes away his belt, and that's that. Except Batman is surprisingly pissed off at Superman, for nearly getting himself killed. For some reason, they have this conversation in a barn, somewhere, and after Superman has a rambling monologue about the good times he had on farms and wheatcakes. Swear to god, wheatcakes. That's usually Spider-Man's thing!

The last page alludes to Superman and Batman's fifty years of friendship, as they both go their separate ways. With Batman swinging away on a rope attached to...nothing in particular, I'd guess. The editorial on the last page notes that the book was going on "hiatus," while the bigwigs tried to sort out a premise and format. (I was more familiar with World's Finest as an anthology book.) I was going to blame this on the Dark Knight Rises, but that wouldn't debut until 1986! Ditto Byrne's the Man of Steel. This was post-Crisis, though. And the World's Finest name has returned, more than once.


Dale Bagwell said...

So this is where the rift between the two officially started? Huh.

googum said...

Maybe? It might go back further, to when Bats left the JLA to form the Outsiders; but they still had a team-up book to put out then.